Connections Lab: Exploring Elements of Shared Risk & Protective Factor (SRPF) Approaches

A public health approach to preventing injuries, violence, and other public health problems requires having a holistic understanding of their root causes. Risk factors are characteristics and conditions that increase the likelihood of experiencing an adverse health or quality-of-life outcomeProtective factors are the inverse: these characteristics and conditions decrease or mitigate the likelihood of experiencing an adverse outcome or increase the likelihood of experiencing a positive outcome.

However, many risk and protective factors are linked to multiple health and quality-of-life outcomes. These are known as shared risk and protective factors (SRPFs). For example, low educational achievement is a risk factor for a variety of adverse outcomes, including multiple forms of violence, substance abuse, heart disease, and unemployment. On the other hand, neighborhood affluence and residential stability have been cited as protective factors against many forms of violence and increase the likelihood of positive birth outcomes. Understanding the complex interplay, interconnections, and shared attributes of risk and protective factors is critical if we want to ensure that people in our states and communities have the best possible health and quality of life.

Many different sectors contribute to our health and quality of life, including economics, housing, transportation, social services, and education. Although these sectors use different vocabularies and concepts, they all have core connections that unite them. A shared risk and protective factor (SRPF) approach  – a term coined by public health injury and violence prevention practitioners – acknowledges that risk and protective factors are interconnected, occur at a range of levels from individual to societal, and influence many health and quality-of-life outcomes. Their impacts can be both universal and iterative, as risk and protective factors influence and are influenced by the conditions in which we live, learn, work, grow, and age.

How You Can Use the Connections Lab

The Connections Lab is organized into seven sections where you can explore:
The definition and characteristics of SRPF approaches
conceptual model that illustrates how and where SRPF approaches operate
 How to engage partners in SRPF approaches
 Tips for successfully evaluating SRPF approaches
What SRPF approaches look like in action
Tools and resources to support SRPF approaches
Meanings of terms used throughout the Connections Lab site

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